The Value of Silence

Sometimes when we are driving around town running errands, heading to my mum’s house for a visit, or picking up my husband from work my daughter will pipe up from her car seat in the back and say, “Mom, can we just have some quiet time right now, please?”

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At 5 years old this kid is already wise to how wonderful and necessary silence can be. Normally we’d have music or an audio story playing, but many times she’ll specifically request that I turn the radio off and keep my own mouth shut as well.

At my very first Reiki session as a professional practitioner years ago I had quiet, soothing music playing (as I still do with sessions today). Somewhere about three quarters of the way through the appointment my playlist ended and I may or may not have gone into full on panic mode. I immediately started overthinking the entire situation, convinced that the client noticed the sudden lack of Deuter filling the room and was therefore having a terrible time. I actually nervously said, “whoops, my music stopped! Let me just fix that…” and proceeded to fiddle with my phone DURING THE APPOINTMENT until the playlist restarted. Thinking back to this I can’t help but cringe and wonder why I placed such worth in music playing while I worked.

When I had someone in for a Reiki session earlier this year a similar situation happened. For whatever reason the music cut out during the appointment unexpectedly and the client and I were left with a starkly silent room.

I kept it that way.

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What a difference a few years and some perspective can make. Where I was once afraid of lacking sounds to fill a space, I now value that absence so greatly.

Seeing my daughter not only requesting but enjoying silence already brings me so much joy. As a kid I would often fall asleep with headphones on listening to music, the bus ride to school would be full of chattering students or whatever radio station the driver felt we deserved that day, and from homeroom to last bell I’d have the voices and sounds of classroom after classroom in my ears, followed by all the varying volumes of my family and home life.

I remember all of that as an accepted constant, but I also remember the small moments in time where the act of quiet mindfulness started wandering into my life: as a tween, looking out the window and watching the snow so intently after my mother told me that if I listened hard enough I could actually hear the snow fall, and later as a teenager in psychology class learning a brief meditation instructed by my teacher as she turned out the lights and had us all lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes.

Now as an adult I am grateful for those initial introductions to silence as a sacred opportunity. We don’t need noise all the time! We get enough of that just simply existing in the modern world.

One of my favorite things to do, and as a stay at home mom to a 5 year old this is a very rare occurrence, is sit down with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket and just be in my home.  Literally just being there. Not folding laundry while listening to a podcast, or washing the dishes while my daughter asks for more water, or strawberries, or pretzels, etc. every 5 seconds, or yelling, “ALEXA! PLAY FROZEN TWO MUSIC!” Just sitting down and leaving the quiet as it is.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy my home when it is full of noise (just so we’re clear, I love the Frozen II soundtrack and Lost in the Woods will never not be on repeat in my head) or that when I do have some quiet time it’s completely void of noise, but when I sip my tea on my couch next to my sleepy chihuahua I am reveling in my own version of silence.

It’s enough for me for now.

 

No Apology Necessary

On the afternoon of May 14th, 2014 I was laboring in a tub at The Birth Center in Beverly.

This was my first time doing the whole “pushing a human out of my body” thing, and despite all of the books I had read, mothers I had spoken to, and videos I had watched about what giving birth is actually like I was still completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) shocked by how painful the contractions were.

I was doing my best to handle everything as calmly as my body and mind were allowing, but I was also dealing with back labor (side note: back labor is the opposite of a good time) and getting fatigued. During all of this I had music playing on my phone from the playlist I’d compiled carefully weeks before. Continue reading “No Apology Necessary”

Quest for the Press

I am someone who enjoys a good challenge, and by “enjoy” I mean practically destroy myself in the process of trying to achieve success. Exhibit A: my brief but unbelievably intense obsession with press handstands.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “press handstand” just means that rather than kicking up to get yourself vertical, you lift your lower body off the ground like magic using mainly core and arm strength. When I first discovered this practice, I quite literally thought I was witnessing some sort of dark sorcery. I could not fathom that it was possible for a human body to just float on up like that. Thus, my obsession began.

Continue reading “Quest for the Press”

Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies

In early 2015 I was a stay at home mom to a beautiful 8 month old child, with a growing desire for some kind of creative outlet. Now that I’ve said that the nice way, let me rephrase that and tell you that I was practically ripping my hair out with wild, dangerous eyes searching for something, ANYTHING, to give me a connection to the outside world. It was a long winter spent mostly indoors; the snow that year was unbelievable and we were one of the lucky folks who had to deal with the aftermath of an ice dam on our roof. I was keeping myself busy with all the never-ending tasks that come with motherhood and homemaking, but I was desperate to do something for myself (it would be another 6 months before the opportunity to purchase The Healing Center came around). So I started a blog. Continue reading “Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies”

Space: Creating It

At the end of last year (is it just me or does it always feel weird to call it “last year” when it was only a few days ago?) I felt the theme of “creating space” arrive in my life. Or, more accurately, I belatedly acknowledged its relentless presence. It had presented itself to me over and over in different ways for months, maybe even years, until I eventually managed to connect the dots (at which point the Universe was probably thinking “ugh, FINALLY.”)

Continue reading “Space: Creating It”

200 Hours Later

Picture a golden glow, with obnoxious yet glorious rays shining in every direction directly out of my face. That is how I felt as I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I spent 10 months immersing myself in all things yoga, and I finally reached the end of that chapter and I felt RADIANT. I still do. I have been struggling to write this post for months, purely because I don’t know where to begin. So much happened in this training and I am still absorbing it all, even now. Continue reading “200 Hours Later”

Recharge (with Style)

Let’s try an experiment.

I want you to look at the word I’m about to write, and take note of what first comes to mind when you see it. Ready? 

This magical word is: self-care

What did you see? Did you envision yourself getting a pedicure, reading a book in the bath with lit candles around it, or maybe getting a luxurious massage? In this day and age, the term “self-care” is often synonymous only with activities such as those…but why?! Those are all fantastic examples of self-care (I would practically kill for some alone time to read a book without constant interruption), but let’s not forget that tending to the needs of your body and mind can also just mean closing the bathroom door on your kid so you can pee in peace for once, or choosing not to answer any of those 57 emails until tomorrow when you’re ready to, or even as simple as taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day, the act of taking care of ourselves comes in many shapes and forms. It’s about creating a sacred space for you to cultivate healing of your mind, body and soul, whatever that may look like.
Continue reading “Recharge (with Style)”

5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice

Once upon a time, I had a bright pink yoga mat that I got for free while working at a rehab hospital. It had some prescription drug’s name emblazoned on it, it was flimsy, and it was pretty horrendous as far as grip goes.

That was my first mat, ever.

The hospital I was working as a rehab aide at offered a free yoga class on Thursdays for the staff and, every week that I could, I put that crappy mat to good use. That was many years ago, and since then I’ve added a few things to my practice (and gotten a more quality mat). I thought I’d share what I use, and how I use them. Just FYI, I’m not getting any sort of perks whatsoever for posting any of this. That would be nice, though. Continue reading “5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice”

The Countdown

I am a note taker. I am constantly, CONSTANTLY, writing myself notes or creating “to-do” lists (of important tasks for a particular day, or goals I hope to reach but with no set due date). The first weekend of May was the second to last one of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and a couple of my classmates were unable to attend. One of them reached out to me and asked if I’d share my notes with her afterward, so at the end of the day on both Saturday and Sunday I happily wrote out a lengthy email full of information I had managed to hurriedly jot down in between poses. Seeing all of it typed out like that, with any gaps being filled in by my own perspective or understanding on the topics, made me realize that this is actually happening. I am VERY close to being certified to teach people yoga, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Continue reading “The Countdown”

Santosha

How do you view your life right now?

What words would you use to sum up an average day?


 

When speaking to a dear friend of mine recently, I marveled at his life with his husband and used the term “exciting” to describe it. He was so quick to refute that! He, instead, offered the word “boring”.  I argued back, stating that no, in fact, it was MY life that lacked intrigue. Is this what it’s like, being an adult these days? Competing to see whose life is the most dull?!

Continue reading “Santosha”